Does the Politico do so little noteworthy original work that it has to make it appear as if it's taking credit for stories it didn't break? It sure looks like it from here.
In a story about President Obama's Organizing For Action organization, the not-for-profit lobbying result after Obama and those running the presidential campaign's Organizing For America chose to become a permanent fixture, Politico's Byron Tau predictably whitewashed the seriousness of OFA's violation of IRS rules against partisan political activity in allowing a supporter of Democrat Terry McAuliffe to recruit signature gatherers for his gubernatorial campaign. Tau also acted as if his web site had gotten the story either first or at the same time as a competitor when he wrote in his second paragraph that "OFA removed the post after it was flagged by POLITICO and the Weekly Standard." Then, in the final sentence of his 11-paragraph entry -- one I guess he hopes nobody will read -- Tau wrote:
While Broadcast Media Buys ‘Severe Weather’ Excuse for Moving Obama Speech, Townhall, Politico Are Skeptical
If you have tickets for the Democratic National Convention and wanted to see President Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech this Thursday at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium, you’ll be greatly disappointed. Despite the official excuse of severe weather -- forecasters put the chance of storms at 20-30 percent -- the change in venue really seems to be because Obama campaign officials fear they can't fill the 74,000-seat stadium.
Reporting that, of course, is unfathomable for the lapdog broadcast media, but some print and online reporters are skeptical.
Dem Convention Won’t be Mom-friendly, Feminists Charge; ‘War on Women’-Obsessed MSNBC Thus Far Has Ignored Story
"A number of local chapters of the National Organization for Women are denouncing the DNC convention rules, saying that they unfairly exclude mothers with young children," Byron Tau of Politico reported on Monday morning, going on to quote feminist icon Gloria Steinem as complaining that "Women are the key to a Democratic victory, and sometimes, children are the key to women. It's both right and smart for the Democratic Convention to behave as if children exist."
Given their penchant for frequently featuring Politico reporters and for hyping the so-called war on women, it would be reasonable for MSNBC to pick up on the story. But alas, they have not, even though National Organization for Women president Terry O'Neill appeared on the Monday edition of the Ed Show and on today's MSNBC Live hosted by Thomas Roberts to discuss the Akin controversy.
Politico: That ‘Only’ Half of Americans Can Recite Obama’s ‘Private Sector Is Doing Fine’ Remark Is Good News For Him
A June 16-18 YouGov.com poll (at Page 25) reported that 47% of Americans in a sample of 1,000 U.S. citizens 18 and over had heard or heard about President Barack Obama's June 8 claim that "the private sector is doing fine."
The reaction of John Sides, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University, as picked up by Byron Tau at the Politico, is that this "low" percentage shows that "even after national headlines, some kinds of stories just don’t register to busy Americans who have more things to do than follow every jot and tittle of the news." You've got to be kidding me; 47% is amazingly high.
Even before getting to a most fundamental but underappreciated point, let's look at the survey itself, which contains at least three elements indicating that awareness on the part of likely voters, especially those who are likely to be undecided at this point, is much higher:
- The question itself -- "In a press conference last week, President Obama was asked about the state of the economy. How did he describe economic growth in the private sector?" -- was open-ended. If respondents had been asked, "Did you hear or hear about President Obama saying that "the private sector is doing fine" a week ago, the percentage would likely have been several points higher, possibly even by double digits.
- 59% of independents, the group most likely to contain undecided voters, were able to recite the remark.
- The survey's population was of "1,000 U.S. citizens" means everyone, including those who aren't registered to vote and the serially apathetic.
But the far bigger point is one which was made back in 2005 (the link is from 2007, but the underlying post which is no longer available was published in 2005) by Allan Hoffenblum, who is currently Publisher and Co-Editor of the California Target Book®, and who appears to be far more in touch with the real world than Mr. Sides:
Hoffenblum divides the electoriate into two groups, the “14%’ers” and the “86%’ers.” The “14%’ers” are actively involved in politics, they participate in local elections, and they keep themselves up-to-date on what is happening in their communities. The other 86% don’t much care about politics and don’t spend any effort informing themselves about what is going on.
The informed “14%’ers” are much more partisan than the uninformed “86%’ers” and get their information from a much more diverse range of sources. The “86%’ers” — when they learn anything — tend to get their information through television and advertising.
One could argue that improvements in news access thanks to technology and the advent of the Tea Party movement have increased the percentage who are relatively engaged by a bit. But it seems naive to claim that it's even 20% now.
Having established that, Obama's "the private sector is fine" comment has broken through to anywhere from 34% (if absolutely every engaged person is aware of the remark and their percentage of the population is now 20%, leading to a result of dividing the remaining 27% who are aware by 80% who are disengaged) to 38% (if the engaged are still 14%, the result of 33% divided by 86%). To the extent that any of the engaged somehow missed Obama's remark, that serves to increase the percentage of the disengaged who were aware of it.
That strikes me as amazing -- and certainly not comforting to Team Obama, considering the remark's obvious toxicity. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party's candidates for national office have 4-1/2 more months and what appears to be a lot of not-so-good private sector news on the horizon to remind voters of what Obama said.
What's also amazing is that someone like the Politico's Tau either couldn't or wouldn't (I vote for the latter) see through what appears to be particularly desperate spin disguised as expertise from someone who at the very least leans quite a bit to the left and buys the Pew-generated garbage that "there hasn’t been 'blatant (press) bias' toward Obama."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.